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Japanese mascot Domo is picking up a turntable and coming to L.A.

Michael Juliano

We're lucky enough in Los Angeles to be treated to pop-ups with cute characters from across the Pacific, from a Gudetama menu at Plan Check to Hello Kitty wine in Santa Ana. The latest Japanese character to surface on our shore: a record-spinning variant of the brown, furry monster Domo.

DJ Domo will make his debut here in L.A. at two events on November 5. First up, he'll be spinning a 30-minute set—we kid you not—atop the U.S. Bank Tower as part of L.A. Weekly's Artopia event. Here's hoping DJ Domo is able to squeeze into Skyslide while he's up there. Afterward, he'll reprise his set down the street at the closing night party of Trap House, the escape room and art exhibition at Think Tank Gallery.

You've undoubedly encountered that zigzagging grin before, whether on backpacks, plush toys or in internet memes. But you may not realize that Domo has actually been the mascot for Japanese public broadcasting network NHK since 1998. In the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the TV station has introduced DJ Domo as a means to build up international hype for the Games.

DJ Domo

Photograph: Courtesy Munetaka Tokuyama/NHK-TYO

As much as we'd like to believe that the metallic mascot cooked up his own beats, it was in fact a collaboration between a couple of artists and producers. KEIZOmachine! was responsible for producing the musical set, while VJ KSKA handled the video elements of the planned performance.

So how exactly did Domo go from a brown furry monster to a metalloid robot? Well, NHK's explanation is just delightful

One day, Domo happens to pick up a record player in a forest and brings it back home, where his roommate Mr. Usaji has a wide collection of vinyls. Domo starts playing Mr. Usaji’s vinyls and slowly aspires to be a DJ. To make his dream come true, Domo visits a nightclub owner, but seeing Domo’s poor skill, the owner turns him down. Dr. DJmachine happens to see the disappointed Domo and ends up making a bipedal walking type robot that is “DJ Domo”, a great master of DJ, who becomes a great teacher of Domo.

 Sure, we buy it. See you soon, DJ Domo!

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